By Jeanne Arnold
Little Black youngsters held hands and followed their pre-school teacher up the escalators with a helping adult plus me bringing up the rear. Quiet. Careful. Alert to what was ahead, they and I listened to the teacher on how to enjoy the butterflies and how to protect them.
As soon as I entered the exhibit, I was greeted by an exotic species that perched on my shoulder. I heard wings flutter at my ear as she settled on me. I felt peaceful.
In awe of their experience, curious and cautious, some children enjoyed butterflies landing on them; others startled, thinking of biting insects, bees, hornets. This class of bright blue t-shirt-clad Black children stood in a circle with wide eyes on their brown and tan faces, black hair with many of the girls having braids decorated with multi-colored barrettes and beads. Their adults standing in their midst were calm, confident and involved with their thigh-high charges.
Other smaller circles of families clustered there too. It was a human garden of our species.
When I sat to rest on a bench, a large monarch lighted on my shoe. A child sitting next to me watched it too. A dimpled, dark-haired white boy with happy black eyes and a generous smile moved closer to see it and I said quietly, “Please do not to disturb it. It thinks I am a flower.”
I want to share a rainbow with you
a rainbow spanning across the moist,
warm air from the turbulent spring
wind-swept lake bordered
by the fresh, new green grass,
greener than Easter-basket-grass green,
but alive—alive as I feel,
full of newness, full of life, full of colors,
broad and rich as the lush, double,
perfect rainbow that I want to share with you.